Three weeks after opting out of his contract, Carmelo Anthony is staying in New York. He made the announcement on his website yesterday.
“This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team,” Melo wrote in an essay titled “My City, My Heart.” “I am looking forward to continuing my career in Orange & Blue, and to working with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams.”
The seven-time All-Star decided to stay in New York after meeting with teams including the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls. Anthony said the organization has supported him and in return he wanted to stay with his city and his team, even going as far to have voiced taking less than the maximum salary in order to build a better team. (His deal is reported to be worth five years and approximately $130 million.)
Phil Jackson, former head coach, 13-time NBA champion and now president of the Knicks, said he and Carmelo both feel very passionately about what they’re trying to accomplish. And having Melo means having the cornerstone of the envisioned “team of excellence.”
“It’s his ability to stay, be patient, lead, and watch us develop a winner,” Jackson said. “There’s no instantaneous winner that we think is going to happen to the Knicks right now. But we’re going to be a lot better.”
Anthony averaged 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game last season. The Knicks went 37-45, but the team is making moves this with the hopes of transforming into championship contenders.
First came the coaching changes. In early June, the Knicks hired the newly retired Derek Fisher – a five-time NBA champion – as the team’s 26th head coach. During the first week of July, the organization announced the associate head coach in 2014 would be Kurt Rambis, who has been a part of eight NBA championship teams as a player, assistant coach or general manager with the Lakers.
In 2013, Tim Hardaway Jr. was added to the roster, then rookie Shane Larkin, who suffered an injury quickly after he was drafted, was traded to New York from Dallas. In the 2014 NBA draft, the Knicks selected Cleanthony Early as the 34th-overall pick and acquired a handful of talented D-League or international players such as Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
After all of the offseason decisions and moves, Carmelo became the last, most expensive piece of the puzzle.
“In the end,” he wrote, “I am a New York Knick at heart.”
Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images